Johannesburg – EFF leader Julius Malema has confirmed that they were talking to individual ANC MPs in an effort to unseat President Jacob Zuma following his unpopular decision to axe Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
Malema said they had been advised by their lawyers that the ANC MPs would have to vote with them and not abstain should the matter be put to a vote.
The National Assembly had 400 MPs and the EFF would need 201 MPs to support the motion for Zuma to go.
Malema revealed that they still needed to get about 70 ANC MPs “to vote with us” on the matter. It was hoped that the opposition political parties would vote together on the matter.
The EFF lodged an application at the Constitutional Court this week in an effort to force National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete to institute disciplinary or impeachment proceedings against Zuma.
“It’s not a waste of time to try this motion of no confidence. We are in a crisis, we have to try everything to try and rescue this mess,” Malema said, briefing journalists in Joburg on Friday.
He said they had been in meetings with government, business, religious and civil society leaders since dawn on Friday as part of a fight back strategy aimed at toppling Zuma.
Zuma wielded the axe on Thursday night, replacing Gordhan and Jonas with Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and ANC MP Sfiso Buthelezi, respectively.
“Zuma has captured Treasury. It means the Guptas has captured Treasury. He has achieved what he wanted to achieve with Des van Rooyen,” said Malema.
He characterised Gigaba as “corrupt to the core”, saying there were allegations against him that the Guptas, Zuma’s close friends, had bought a house for him.
Malema said Gigaba had also not dismissed past allegations against him that he had an offshore bank account.
“You have just took Treasury and placed it at the gates of Saxonwold Shebeen. Malusi lives beyond his means, his lifestyle gives him away that he’s got an extra income,” said Malema.
The much-criticised Cabinet reshuffle, said Malema, was about factional battles within the ANC.
The EFF would do everything to fight Zuma and didn’t rule out the possibility of going out “to the streets”, said Malema. He commended Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for coming out publicly against Gordhan’s and Jonas’s axing.
“I was excited by the fact that a deputy president of the country, disagrees with a seating president, publicly. It has a lot more potential to galvanise more South Africans,” Malema said.
Gigaba’s spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.